Discussion: Senate GOP Letter To Iran Imperils Bipartisan Iran Sanctions Bills

Discussion for article #234209

Again and again, this particular version of the GOP demonstrates that they cannot think strategically to further their own interests. (I’m setting aside for the moment the larger, if snarkier, question of whether they’re thinking, period.) Usually, when they attempt to appeal to (read: appease) the base, they can’t seem to think beyond the next election cycle, thus endangering their own long-term health as a party. In this instance, though, they do seem to be thinking ever-so-slightly beyond November 2016 . . . but now, they’re endangering what little shot at bipartisanship they had on this issue (which, you know, I’m glad for, as far as this issue is concerned).

At the heart of all these political (and, in this case, policy) screw-ups is that Republicans have opted for obstruction as their default mode rather than governance on domestic policy or counsel on foreign policy. Obstruction is easier than thinking; but so far, they have precious little to show for not thinking–aside, that is, from not getting legislation signed that Obama will sign into law or that has veto-proof support.


Let’s suppose that the 5 + 1 and Iran reach a deal and then Congress were to pass a bill forbidding the lifting of sanctions and then over-rode a veto (a long shot in the Senate and a very long shot in the House, since Pelosi is not on board). What would happen? The other 5 would lift sanctions, while the US would keep them. The effect of that? Iran would sell oil to China, bank the profits in Europe and buy what it needs anywhere except the US. Who would that hurt? US businesses, but certainly not Iran. It would be like the highly effective Cuban embargo, except Iran is next to Russia and China and near Europe and thus much less interested in trading with the US than Cuba is.

Truly dumb and dumber and dumbest.


This letter should hurt Republicans by reminding the country what traitors they are. If treason isn’t a disadvantage to politicians any more, then we’re all doomed regardless of Iran.


I’d love to know how freshman Tom Cotton, two months into his first term, managed to get veterans like Grassley and others to go along with it.


The Koch choke?


Yes. This is the gist of our current policy toward Cuba as well.

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Grassley in particular seems to have become blindly partisan ever since the days that the ACA was working its way through the Senate. I’m more mystified by why McConnell did–surely he’s smart enough to have known or suspected that this letter was a bad idea, unless (and I may be giving too much credit here) his letting it go ahead was a sop to the base to make up for what the base saw as a capitulation on the DHS funding bill.


Cotton & company aren’t doing this to promote policy, they could care less about the policy. He - a freshman senator - organized this letter to slap the face of the Ni@@r in the Whitehouse and now he’s being asked by some to run for president. That’s what this is about, his own personal career, like Cruz and Rand Paul, the country, and to a large extent the Republican party, is secondary to their personal ambitions.


And the stance they have adopted is one driven by an intense and visceral hatred. It could be viewed as hatred of the President and that is certainly true, but I would argue that it has metastasized into a hatred of anyone and anything which stands in opposition to their world views.

It is already driving their attacks on Hillary and in fact much of the hatred first launched with the party’s efforts to bring down both President Clinton and his wife.

And today it is so visceral that it is clouding the judgement of party strategists. I mean really…how many times do you have to vote against Obamacare, how many Benghazi investigations are needed, how far off the ranch do you need to go…from secret invitations to Netanyahu to trying to undercut treaty negotiations?

And you get hints of just how bad it would get if they were to gain full control of Congress when you look at state legislatures in Wisconsin, Arizona, North Carolina, and Texas. They aren’t passing legislation…they are sticking it to their opponents…labor, pro choice, environmentalists, intellectuals, minorities, women. Nasty


Well that’s the problem with a political philosophy rooted in nihilism and authoritarianism. Really hard to advance incremental policy goals step by step when you were elected to blow the place up and impose minority rule.




What “sets back Republicans’ causes” is the fact that people are finally figuring out the “Republican cause” is comforting the comfortable and changing the subject from building a strong America to just about anything else, ‘preemptive war’, the ‘threat’ of ‘radical Islam’, black people, brown people, unions, uppity workers thinking they deserve a raise, etc.
Any thing to distract from the fact that economic mobility is higher in Europe than in America, that health care is half as much in some European countries that rank far above us in health care effectiveness, that America’s ‘new generation’ is less well educated than previous generation and ranks well below most developed countries in literacy and numeracy, that thirty years of increasing productivity has resulted in lower wages for workers but increasing higher bonuses for executives and growing inequality.
Yep. Republicans are having an increasingly difficult time hiding these facts from people.
It may be that war is their only choice. But dont be surprised if Americans push back. The Republican con is getting more and more difficult to pull off, especially, as they become ‘the majority’ and people see it in its ugly nakedness.


I found this elsewhere, and thought it was very interesting.
I’d like to see this get a lot of circulation.

“Lt. Col. Joni Ernst broke the law by signing the seditious letter to Iran.
Lt. Col. Joni Ernst, the junior senator from Iowa, is an active duty lieutenant colonel in the Iowa Army National Guard. As such, she is bound by the Iowa State Code of Military Justice. Her signing of the seditious letter to Iran is a clear and direct violation of Chapter 29B.85 of the Iowa State Code of Military Justice.
Any person subject to this code who uses contemptuous words against the president, the governor, or the governor of any other state, territory, commonwealth, or possession in which that person may be serving, shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.”



Obstruction of Obama is the entire guiding light for today’s GOP; that, and making the federal government completely dysfunctional.

What’s startling is how depraved the GOP now is: allowing a complete backbencher to take the lead on an issue like this is indicative that the GOP Senate is now as effed up as the GOP House.


Mark Kirk has been all over the map on this, and not in a good way. His actions have been puerile, vindictive, provincial and just plain ignorant of process. Wasn’t he supposed to be among the more competent Republican Senators?


The rise of Ted Cruz was the precedent for this. It didn’t work that well then, either, which makes me wonder why McConnell, who seems to have better control over his caucus than before, allowed Cotton to go through with this.


Of course. You can put a redneck in the Senate, but he’s still a redneck.
Man, did he step in it.


did you see the wapo column yesterday that included this little gem – sounds like cotton is a fan of kim jong un:

While in the House in 2013, Cotton introduced an amendment to prosecute the relatives of those who violated sanctions on Iran, saying that his proposed penalties of up to 20 years in prison would “include a spouse and any relative to the third degree,” including "parents, children, aunts, uncles, nephews, nieces, grandparents, great grandparents, grandkids, great grandkids.”